One of the features most lauded about the App Store is quickly becoming its biggest crutch: updates. Developers are able to constantly refine their games and applications by uploading new versions to the App Store, and through a simple icon on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can instantly update the program. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. Content you already purchased can be enhanced, such as the case with Fieldrunners, which recently added a new map. Constantly adding value to your game is a good way to foster loyalty. Gamers will know that you care about your game and the value of download dollars. In return, they may be more inclined to stick with your products -- something that is very important as the App Store explodes with hundreds of pieces of new content every week.
But there is a dark side to updates: games pushed on to the App Store that never should have launched in their first incarnation. Gamers are asked to drop anywhere between one and ten bucks for a game. That's a trust issue. And if develoeprs shove your game on to the App Store in shabby condition, they erode trust in not only their games and their companies, but also in the App Store itself.
After struggling with Namco's I Love Katamari this weekend and reviewing it, I was struck by just how incomplete it felt. All of the game pieces are in place, but control and performance issues really hobble the overall title. I sincerely doubt a game in this condition, with frame problems that bring the game to a stand-still and controls that require constant fighting, would have made it on to XBLA, WiiWare, or PSN. At least, I hope it wouldn't. I'd expect Microsoft or Nintendo to send it right back to the developer with a list of things to fix. Apple needs to do this, too.
I Love Katamari could be rescued with an update that addresses performance issues. But the problem is that gamers should not be asked to pay full-price for a game that is obviously a work-in-progress. There are many, many games likes this on the App Store. -- games that debut in working shape, but hardly in optimal condition. It's a trap. I caught myself thinking that Katamari maybe wasn't that unplayable and an update would make everything all better. But then I remembered I paid $7.99 to download it. It was not free. And it wasn't free to the hundreds of gamers that have downloaded it thus far. We all deserve better.
1112 Episode 01 is another game with this problem. When it originally debuted, the game featured a terrible interface that added an unnecessary layer of distance between you and the game. There were inconsistencies to the logic. The in-game text had translation issues. An update (1.1.0) added instructions on how to actually play the game and use the interface, as well as fix the text. These are not bonus features. These are things that should have been in the game in the first place. I'm not against a tough-as-nails puzzle game, but being obtuse isn't fun. I'm certainly glad the game was updated, because the idea is interesting and the art is awesome. I'm just sorry that there was a period where gamers that bought 1112 Episode 01 had to swim upstream. Perhaps they will be better served by Episode 2.
I love the idea of updating games to perhaps address a little fix that gamers noticed or add a new map. Refinement isn't a bad thing at all. But expecting gamers to lay down their money and then hold while developers repair stuff that never should have made it out of the studio certainly is a problem. Use updates wisely, don't lean on them to solve major problems. Paying customers are not beta testers.
Source : http://wireless.ign.com/